Sheriff, DA's office employees arrested for allegedly vandalizing Black Lives Matter sign

Sheriff, DA's office employees arrested for allegedly vandalizing Black Lives Matter sign
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Employees of the sheriff’s office and district attorney’s office in a Southern California county were arrested after security footage showed them vandalizing a “Black Lives Matter” sign on a homeowner’s fence, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said the Thousand Oaks homeowner installed a surveillance camera after the sign was damaged and removed several times.

The man posted footage showing several people vandalizing the sign and attempting to tear it down. Detectives with the sheriff’s office allegedly recognized Darrin Stone, a service technician at the Ventura pre-trial detention facility, in the footage after it was posted to social media, CNN reported.

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The sheriff’s office said the footage showed Stone vandalizing the sign twice on June 13 and 19, both while he was off-duty. He has been cited for misdemeanor vandalism and placed on administrative leave.

"I'm deeply disappointed that one of our employees involved himself in this type of illegal activity, especially when this is an infringement on someone's First Amendment right to freedom of speech," said Sheriff Bill Ayub in a statement. "We will not tolerate unlawful or unethical behavior by anyone employed by our agency. We hold our employees to the highest standards, and there will be consequences for this."

Meanwhile, Craig Anderson, an investigative assistant in Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten’s office, has also been cited for vandalism and resigned after the footage allegedly showed him cutting down the sign and leaving upon noticing the camera.

"In accordance with District Attorney policy, the misdemeanor vandalism citation will be referred to the Attorney General's Office for all purposes due to Mr. Anderson's employment status. Mr. Anderson has resigned his employment with the District Attorney's office,” Totten’s office told CNN.

The homeowner, Andy Meyers, told CNN his son, a college student, made the sign.

"None of us expected it to be vandalized. But to have it defaced by people we've always taught him he's supposed to trust has been a terrible lesson to learn," he told CNN. "Black Lives Matter. Period. He put up a sign to support a movement. Ironically, their efforts to take it down have only led to more visibility for it."